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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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air, the eye from the edge of the crater rests on the
vine-covered hills of Orotava, and the Hesperidean
gardens of the coast. In these scenes lies the cahn7
creative life of nature, its quiet working; in them is
shown the individual character of the scenery—a ming-
ling- of the outlines of clouds, sea, and coast,, in the vir-
gin form of islands; there is beauty of vegetable form
and grouping. For the irregular,, the terrible, even in
nature, everything which exceeds our power of compre-
hension becomes a source of enjoyment in a romantic
scenery. Imagination has full scope for its creations in
that which cannot be perceived by the senses; its influ-
ence is different at every change in the temper of the
observer. We erroneously believe we take from the
outer world what we ourselves have put into it."
. . . "Whoever is roused to intellectual indepen-
dence, and builds his own world within himself, must
be excited by the view of the free, open sea, the majes-
tic picture of boundlessness. His eye is enchained by
the distant horizon, where dimly, like a mist, water
and land unite, where stars descend and reflect them-
selves in the waters, A shade of melancholy longing
mingles with enjoyment of this eternal change, as it
always does with human pleasures. ... A pecu-
liar partiality for the se^fe, a grateful recollection of the
impressions which the mutable element made upon
me between the tropics in calm nocturnal repose, or
when excited by the struggle of nature, determine me
to speak of the individual enjoyment of the prospect,
before mentioning the beneficial influence which con-
tact with the ocean undoubtedly exercises over the
development of the intelligence and the character of
many nations ; over the multiplication of the ties
which unite the whole human family ; over the possi-
bility of attaining to a knowledge of the formation of
earth ;_ and over the progress of astronomy, and of all
mathematical and physical sciences. Since Columbus